New Zealand v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Christchurch January 28, 2011

Will Pakistan's batsmen fight back?


Match Facts

January 29, Christchurch
Start time 14:00 (01:00 GMT)

Big Picture

The perception of this contest is simple: it is a case of two battling batting line-ups pitted against the conditions; whichever team can produce incisive bowling is likely to trigger the opposition's latent tendency to implode.

In the first ODI, Pakistan's batting crumbled like only it can. On their bad days, there is a dull sense of déjà-vu as the batsmen succumb meekly to their technical frailties. What excites the fan are Pakistan's good days: then you gasp at the audacious shot making of a Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi or Abdul Razzaq, or at the fluency of Younis Khan, or the nudge-dab-slog-sweep routine of Misbah-ul-Haq. If the bowlers are on song too, they look a dangerous outfit.

So far it's been a quintessentially Pakistani start to the series: announce a World Cup team without naming the captain and idly watch cliques develop within the team; have the batting implode in the first game; then explode, briefly as rain ruined in the second game when the conditions were supposed to be loaded against the batsmen, and leave the rest of the world wondering what will happen in the third.

While Pakistan sink-and-awe, New Zealand occupy an ecosystem where discipline and self-surrender seem to co-exist without contradiction. One day, they look like a highly disciplined unit, whose whole seems greater than the sum of its parts, but on another day their frailties seem too weak to hide and they just surrender. The new coach, John Wright, has made some changes: Brendon McCullum bats lower down to strengthen the middle order, Martin Guptill opens with the licence to hunt runs together with Jesse Ryder, and Daniel Vettori drops further down. The news is that Jamie How will open in the next game as New Zealand continue to experiment before the World Cup.

Form guide

New Zealand: WLLLL
Pakistan: LLWLW

Players to watch out for …

Younis Khan is at his best when he stretches out on that front foot and laces his square-drives. You know then that everything is well in his world. The mind is relaxed, the footwork is positive and he is constantly thinking about runs. On his bad days, he pokes and dabs, and the shot selection can go awry. Which Younis will turn up tomorrow?

Kane Williamson has shown the ability to handle pace and seam and he is a good fit in a team where the top order has shown a tendency to collapse. Williamson provides stability to this side.

Team news

Jamie How, the Central Districts batsman, will open for New Zealand and Luke Woodcock and Kane Williamson are likely to play.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Jamie How, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Ross Taylor (capt), 4 Scott Styris, 5 Kane Williamson, 6 Brendon McCullum (wk), 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Luke Woodcock, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Hamish Bennett.

Will Pakistan go with the same team or bring Shoaib Akthar back?

Pakistan (probable): 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq, 5 Umar Akmal, 6 Kamran Akmal (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi (capt), 8 Abdul Razzaq, 9 Abdur Rehman/Sohail Tanvir, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Shoaib Akhtar/Wahab Riaz.

Stats and trivia

  • In the first ODI, Brendon McCullum became the third wicketkeeper to effect five or more dismissals, five times or more. The others are Adam Gilchrist (12) and Mark Boucher (8).

  • Mohammad Hafeez's duck in the first game was his third against New Zealand. It's also the 14th by an Pakistan opener against New Zealand.

  • Tim Southee's 5 for 33, his maiden five-for, in the first ODI are the best bowling figures by a New Zealand bowler against Pakistan.


"Hamish Bennett is unusual. He's a hustler, he hits the deck very hard, so with the new ball and the extra bounce that he can get, hopefully he can get a little bit more. You need to see what happens on the day and where the wind's going and things like that, but it'd be good to get him inside that first 10 overs and see what he can do with the new ball."
Ross Taylor is excited at the prospect of opening the bowling with Hamish Bennett

"I guess the thing is not to get too distracted by things. You have a job to do just get on and do it. With the World Cup coming up I guess they are looking to rotate guys around, looking at the big picture."
Jamie How says he is ready to open the batting

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Steve on January 29, 2011, 1:07 GMT

    Coming WC will most likely be last Int cricket for both Akthar (no longer a threat to batsmen) and Razzaq (can play a winning knock once every 4 yrs or so and has become very ordinary slow medium pacer of late). Pak should invest in younger players for future tournaments after WC.

  • Nathan on January 29, 2011, 0:03 GMT

    New Zealand has a great respect for Pakistan. Inzamam, Wasim and Waqar have played some of there most beautiful cricket against the Kiwis and even though it hurts you just have to applaud. Pakistani supporters can be proud of the way this current team has conducted itself, honesty and dignity off the field, and skill and courage on it. Its just a shame we won't be touring Pakistan anytime soon. Lets hope today's game can live up to the battles of the past. Go The Kiwis!

  • Riz on January 28, 2011, 23:35 GMT

    Some one pointed out Shoaib I agree with the gentleman, Shoaib is getting bothersome for team now and other person I believe does not hold deserve in ODI is Younas KHan his average is 32, and is the weakest link in our batting. If we want a senior batsman than why not Mohammad YOusaf who is much better Batsman his ODI ave is 42. Younis should concentrate on Test cricket he can still serve Pakistan another few years. The 2nd weakest link in Pak team is Shahid Afridi, if he is not Captain he wont be in my playing 11. I think we should seriously consider his performance, and he needs to mature and play sensibly and over come his emotional approach and play rational cricket. He is very capable but gets carried away, The game is very mechanized and technical now and he must as Captain & senior player lead from the front or stop playing with the emotion of the Nation

  • Dummy4 on January 28, 2011, 23:15 GMT

    If Pakistan opener plays an excellent innings

  • Dummy4 on January 28, 2011, 22:51 GMT

    All we need from team Pakistan is honesty, even great champions like australian cricketers and captain say u never know about Pakistan,rest is just babies for us, and if u think ur good ranking is all that, ur good ranking is only good because u do ur best to not confront pakistan.

  • Haroon on January 28, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    I hope Pakistan Will Come Back Very Stronglly............LONG LIVE PAKISTAN!!

  • Cricinfouser on January 28, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    There is very little between the two teams but hear me out folks, NZ is a very tough side in their backyard and it is not easy to run them over. It takes something really really special to get them under control. However, balck caps at subcontinent are a completely different story. I don't care how explosive their batting gets it is their bowling that will win them matches and on subcontinent pitches I don't really see that happening. Looking forward to seeing a good finish to the tour in the last 4 games. Go Pak-NZ!!! love them both.

  • Raza on January 28, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    @Fareen.. not sure if you have followed Shoaib's performance in the last few ODI's; he is getting too expensive and has been pivotal in losing matches for Pakistan. No one is seeing it, but Wahab is the fastest bowler Pakistan has today with consistently bowling in 140s kmh and swinging the bowl. Shoaib also cannot bat.. maybe long time back he might have made a few runs, but Wahab actually plays like a batsman.

  • Raza on January 28, 2011, 20:45 GMT

    @rajaindian.. why such hatred? we know we are screwed up, but are trying in such hard times and just won a test series. Pakistan is playing with their b team because of all the chaos last year. India without yousuf, zaheer and an inform batsmen in similar state will likely not be able to compete with new zealand, right?

  • A on January 28, 2011, 20:39 GMT

    If the team absolutely nullifies their egos, and decides to play selflessly for the team, as it should be in the first place, because it is a TEAM sport. If they Surrender! Not to the KIWIs, but to PAKISTAN CRICKET, then, there is no way anyone can stop them because there is no team in the world, (not even the mighty Aussies) who in this particular moment in time is more balanced than our team. It just needs some discipline and a dose of Inspiration. Waqar should bring Imran Khan to the team camp once they get back to Pakistan to motivate the team as we all know, there is no better motivator in Cricket, not only in Pakistan, but the entire cricketing world, than our mighty Imran Khan. And by the way, strange to see so many Indian fans commenting on a Pakistani article. LoL!! I love the competing spirit and jealousy in you Indians. Don't get ahead of yourselves though. Let's wait and see who reaches the Super 8 and who doesn't. I just hope an Asian team can bring the baby back.

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